Burnt INEC office at Enugu State. Photo: INEC/Twitter
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says terrorists destroyed 748 ballot Boxes and 240 voting cubicles when terrorists burnt the Commission’s office in Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, Southeast Nigeria, on Sunday, July 3.
In a statement on Monday, July 4, Festus Okoye, INEC spokesperson, said that the arsonists overpowered the security guards and forced their way into the premises.
He said no casualties were recorded during the attack but added that the fire destroyed office furniture and equipment despite the best effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka.
“The Commission is working to ascertain the status of voter registration machines for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise as well as uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) locked up in the fireproof cabinet,” Okoye said.
He also said the incident was reported to the Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.
“The attack, coming in the middle of the voter registration exercise and other preparations for the 2023 General Election, is worrisome,” Okoye said.
INEC said that at least 41 of its offices were attacked by armed non-state actors between Feb. 2019 and May 2021. Regarding the cases, INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu said Imo State topped the log with the most attacks.
“Clearly, these acts of unjustifiable aggression may undermine the commission’s capacity to organise elections and dent the nation’s electoral process. The commission facilities are there to serve the local communities for the most fundamental aspect of democratic governance, which is elections,” Yakubu said.
The trend, however, did not stop after the INEC boss’s outcry.
The current attacks imply that many affected community residents are denied access to CVR as Nigeria prepares for its next general elections. INEC itself confirmed this in its Election Project Plan (EPP) released in May, where it stresses that physical attacks, kidnapping of its personnel for ransom, and arson attacks on its offices and facilities would affect the registration of voters.
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